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FOLLOW LIVE: Wolves, PSV, Frankfurt in Europa League qualifying action

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Wolves continue their Europa League journey with a chance to move into the playoff round as they look to protect a 4-0 first-leg lead over Armenian club Pyunik in the second leg at Monlieux.

Raul Jimenez was on the mark for a brace in the first leg, with Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also on target to build the significant lead. Should Wolves reach the playoff round, they would be one two-legged tie away from the group stage.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Also in action are Rangers, PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol, Trabzonspor, and Torino, among a host of others.

Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers are protecting a 4-2 lead after a wild second half in Denmark saw them return home with a significant away goal advantage over FC Midtjylland. Rangers have been near perfect to start the new season, with six wins and a draw in seven matches, including a pair of wins in league play.

PSV will take its first go at the Europa League, having been dumped out of the Champions League in the second qualifying round by Basel. Hirving Lozano is rumored to be nearing a switch to Napoli, and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the Dutch side that has won one and drawn one in early Eredivisie play. On the other wing, Steven Bergwijn has had a prolific start to the young campaign, as the 21-year-old Dutch international owns a goal and two assists in six matches thus far.

Ante Rebic will look to bring his recent hat-trick form with him to help Eintracht Frankfurt protect a 5-0 lead over Lichtenstein side Vaduz. Rebic scored a hat-trick in DFP-Pokal play last weekend, the first goals of the season for the Croatian international. Frankfurt owns three wins out of three in Europa League play thus far, looking to maintain momentum with its opening Bundesliga match of the season coming on Sunday.

Espanyol is also perfect in three Europa League matches and will be protecting a 3-0 lead over Swiss side Luzerne. Benfica loanee Facundo Ferreyra has scored a whopping four goals in their three games thus far, tallying at least one in each match. Like the Bundesliga, La Liga play also begins this weekend and Espanyol will look to maintain momentum ahead of their opening league game against Sevilla on Sunday.

Turkish side Trabzonspor returns home for a critical second leg against Sparta Prague with the aggregate scoreline level at 2-2. Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel made his club debut in the first leg but was yanked at halftime, and the Turkish side scored both goals in the final 10 minutes to dramatically level the score. Ghanan international Caleb Ekuban scored one and assisted the other in the comeback.

Serie A doesn’t begin play until next weekend but Torino is a perfect three-for-three in Europa League play thus far and will be protecting a whopping 5-0 lead against Belarusian side Shakhtar Soligorsk, hitting the road for the second leg. Captain Andrea Belotti scored a brace in the first leg to help Torino to the massive advantage, and he could be rested with such a large lead.

All fixtures (first leg score in parenthesis):

HJK Helsinki (1-1) Riga FC – 12:00 p.m. ET
Dinamo Tbilisi (0-4) Feyenoord  – 12:30 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow (3-2) FC Thun – 12:45 p.m. ET
AIK (2-1) Sheriff Tiraspol – 1:00 p.m. ET
Apollon Limassol (2-1) Austria Vienna
BATE Borisov (2-1) FK Sarajevo
Bnei Yehuda (2-2) Neftchi
FC Zorya Luhansk (1-1) CSKA Sofia
FK Suduva (2-1) Maccabi Tel Aviv
Mlada Boleslav (0-0) FCSB
Shakhtar Soligorsk (0-5) Torino
Yeni Malatyaspor (1-3) Partizan Belgrade
Zrinjski Mostar (0-3) Malmo FF
Hapoel Be’er Sheva (1-1) IFK Norrkoping – 1:30 p.m. ET
The New Saints (0-5) Ludogorets Razgrad
Trabzonspor (2-2) Sparta Prague
AEK Athens (2-0) Universitatea Craiova  – 2:00 p.m. ET
Valletta (1-5) FC Astana
Viktoria Plzen (0-1) Antwerp
Aris (0-3) Molde – 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar (0-0) FC Maruipol
Eintracht Frankfurt (5-0) FC Vaduz
KAA Gent (1-1) AEK Larnaca
PSV Eindhoven (1-0) Haugesund
Strasbourg (1-0) Lokomotiv Plovdiv
Aberdeen (0-2) Rijeka – 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga (4-2) Bronby
Rangers (4-2) FC Midtjylland
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-0) Pyunik
Espanyol (3-0) Lucerne

Jimenez, Jota lead Wolves to Europa League blowout

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Nothing’s impossible, but Wolves built an improbable lead after one leg to take a step closer to the Europa League group stage.

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez scored twice and Diogo Jota had three assists as Wolves buried Armenian side Pyunik 4-0 in Yerevan on Thursday.

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The second leg comes at the Molineux in one week, and Wolves begin the Premier League season on Sunday morning with a visit to Leicester City (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com)

Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also scored, as Wolves led 2-0 at the break following Raul’s 42nd minute goal. He completed his brace one minute after halftime.

Should Wolves manage its lead, it will have to win more round to reach the group stage.

Top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who will not only star for their respective clubs but also elevate themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season? With the Premier League campaign officially set to begin this week, we continue our look ahead to the upcoming campaign with an overview of the top players at each position across the league.

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Sure to incite debate, these rankings are based on player performance over the past few years for both club and country, with numerical production combined with the eye test.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position coming into the 2019-20 Premier League season.


Goalkeeper

  1. Ederson
  2. Alisson
  3. David De Gea
  4. Hugo Lloris
  5. Jordan Pickford
  6. Kasper Schmeichel
  7. Kepa Arrizabalaga
  8. Rui Patricio
  9. Lukasz Fabianski
  10. Ben Foster

Joel Matip partnered brilliantly with Virgil Van Dijk for much of last season to lead Liverpool at the back (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images).

Center-back

  1. Virgil van Dijk
  2. Aymeric Laporte
  3. Toby Alderweireld
  4. Jan Vertonghen
  5. Harry Maguire
  6. Joe Gomez
  7. Antonio Rudiger
  8. Joel Matip
  9. Conor Coady
  10. Nathan Ake

Right-back

  1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
  2. Kyle Walker
  3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
  4. Ricardo Pereira
  5. Matt Doherty
  6. Cesar Azpilicueta
  7. Serge Aurier
  8. Kiko Femenia
  9. Max Aarons
  10. Seamus Coleman

Left-back

  1. Andrew Robertson
  2. Lucas Digne
  3. Ben Chilwell
  4. Nacho Monreal
  5. Luke Shaw
  6. Matt Ritchie
  7. Jonny Otto
  8. Patrick Van Aanholt
  9. Benjamin Mendy
  10. Marcos Alonso

It remains to be seen what N’Golo Kante’s role will be under Frank Lampard, but at his best he’s near the top of the game (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images).

Central midfield

  1. Fernandinho
  2. Jordan Henderson
  3. N’Golo Kante
  4. Etienne Capoue
  5. Moussa Sissoko
  6. Luka Milivojevic
  7. Rodri
  8. Ruben Neves
  9. Paul Pogba
  10. Abdoulaye Doucoure

Attacking midfield

  1. Kevin De Bruyne
  2. Christian Eriksen
  3. David Silva
  4. Gylfi Sigurdsson
  5. Diogo Jota
  6. Mesut Ozil
  7. Gerard Deulofeu
  8. James Maddison
  9. Dele Alli
  10. David Brooks

Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva provide a deadly one-two punch on the flanks for Manchester City (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images).

Winger

  1. Mohamed Salah
  2. Raheem Sterling
  3. Bernardo Silva
  4. Sadio Mane
  5. Heung-Min Son
  6. Wilfried Zaha
  7. Nicolas Pepe
  8. Jesse Lingard
  9. Richarlison
  10. Christian Pulisic

Striker

  1. Sergio Aguero
  2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  3. Roberto Firmino
  4. Harry Kane
  5. Raul Jimenez
  6. Jamie Vardy
  7. Alexandre Lacazette
  8. Marcus Rashford
  9. Moise Kean
  10. Sebastian Haller

Wolves qualify for Europa League

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Next season Wolverhampton Wanderers will play in Europe for the first time since 1981.

Courtesy of Manchester City’s victory against Watford in the FA Cup final, and their seventh place finish in the Premier League this season, Wolves will now compete in the UEFA Europa League from the second-qualifying round in 2019-20.

Wolves have enjoyed a fantastic season back in the top-flight, as Nuno Espirito Santo led his newly-promoted side to some huge victories against teams from the top six with Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota leading the way up front.

The likes of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Conor Coady, Matt Doherty and Rui Patricio also dazzled, as Wolves will aim to try and push into the top six next season.

Wolves are going on a European tour, with the first leg of the second qualifying round to be played on July 25 and the second leg on August 1.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who not only starred for their respective clubs but also elevated themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We pondered that as we analyzed those who rose to the challenge best over the past nine months.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position based on their play during the 2018-19 campaign.


Goalkeepers
1. Ederson
2. Alisson
3. David De Gea
4. Kepa
5. Ben Foster
6. Lukasz Fabianski
7. Hugo Lloris
8. Jordan Pickford
9. Rui Patricio
10. Martin Dubravka


Right backs
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
2. Matt Doherty
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
4. Cesar Azpilicueta
5. Ricardo Perreira
6. Kyle Walker
7. Seamus Coleman
8. Kiko Femenia
9. Pablo Zabaleta
10. Yan Valery


Left backs
1. Andrew Robertson
2. Lucas Digne
3. Ben Chilwell
4. Luke Shaw
5. Jonny Otto
6. Patrick Van Aanholt
7. Ben Davies
8. Nacho Monreal
9. Jose Holebas
10. Emerson Palmeri


Center backs
1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Aymeric Laporte
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Vincent Kompany
6. Sokratis
7. Antonio Rudiger
8. Conor Coady
9. Michael Keane
10. Issa Diop


Central midfielders
1. Fernandinho
2. Joao Moutinho
3. Moussa Sissoko
4. David Silva
5. Jordan Henderson
6. Andre Gomes
7. Abdoulaye Doucoure
8. Fabinho
9. N'Golo Kante
10. Youri Tielemans


Attacking midfielders
1. Eden Hazard
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Christian Eriksen
5. Gerard Deulofeu
6. Dele Alli
7. James Maddison
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
9. Paul Pogba
10. Diogo Jota


Wingers
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Sadio Mane
4. Mohamed Salah
5. Wilfried Zaha
6. Ryan Fraser
7. Pedro
8. Ryan Babel
9. David Brooks
10. Nathan Redmond


Strikers
1. Sergio Aguero
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3. Harry Kane
4. Roberto Firmino
5. Alexandre Lacazette
6. Raul Jimenez
7. Heung-Min Son
8. Jamie Vardy
9. Marcus Rashford
10. Salomon Rondon